Today’s story is a rarity: a rich romance between an unexpected pair.
[Romance] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 14,210 words
Rarity always wanted to be Lady Rarity. Over time, it became more clear it was not meant to be. But she’s fine, she’s got a successful business in Ponyville, her fashion line showing in Manehattan and she has her friends, even if most of them are moving on with their lives. A prince sweeping her off her hooves was just not meant to be.
So how in Equestria did she end up on a date with the richest pony in town?
Confusion, feelings and wine mix for a potentially explosive, heartwarming (or rending?) evening, along with a pinch of generosity.
FROM THE CURATORS: Any romance writer can tell you that mashing characters’ lips together is the easy part — and this is a story that makes the hard parts look effortless. “Royals follows Rarity as she goes on a date with Filthy Rich,” Soge said in his nomination, “and what follows not only is a delightfully well-constructed romance on its own right, but also an amazing exploration of what makes both characters tick, and an exploration of the nature of fame and success and what those mean in the greater scheme of things.” On its way to a rare unanimous approval, that was far from the only praise it accumulated. “This does a flawless job of selling a ship I’d never even considered,” Horizon said. “Within a scene and a half it had endeared me to both characters AND shown me their chemistry.” Present Perfect, meanwhile, noted that “excellent romance needs to be built on relationships, characters and dialogue, and this has all three in spades. This is what romance should always be like.”
Even in the details, we kept finding things that surprised and delighted us. “I adored the clever touches around the main plot: Diamond Tiara reacting to Rarity, the reason for her name, even just getting to experience a pre-season-five fic [before the show canonically made Spoiled Rich his wife] again,” Present Perfect said. Horizon added that “the dialogue was never anything less than sharp and stellar,” while FanOfMostEverything was impressed by how casually it made its stars shine. “The story even celebrates both characters at their best even when they’re not trying to romance each other,” he said, “from Mr. Rich’s drive to save Sweet Apple Acres to Rarity’s Bisonian moment in the last flashback. (‘For you, it was the greatest day of your life. For Rarity, it was Tuesday.’)”
That exemplary character work extended throughout the story, and drew praise from every one of us. “I’ll just add how well the author draws even the background characters here,” AugieDog said. “The flashback in chapter two give us a perfectly written Applejack, for instance, and it’s in a scene that’s nothing but dialogue.” All in all, as Horizon said, that elevated it into a story with broad appeal: “As sweet as the romance was, these two characters could have been watching paint dry and it still would have held my attention.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Einhander discusses belated tinkering, short circuits, and universe sharing.
Give us the standard biography.
Hoo boy. Been out of the game for a long time, but got into ponies awhile ago via idle curiosity that became a streaming obsession, which eventually tapered off. I’m so behind on episodes I wouldn’t even presume to know what’s canon now. But in real life I’m a public defender with a very active almost-3-year-old. I still think of the first 5 seasons very fondly.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
It’s the name of a semi-obscure PS1 shooter designed by SquareSoft (not Square Enix.) The game has faded but I always liked the name, and it’s stuck. I don’t speak a lick of German.
Who’s your favorite pony?
What’s your favorite episode?
“Art of the Dress”. Sondheim parody for the win. (Although damn did I love the “background pony” episode.)
What do you get from the show?
Friendship and all kinds of feels, and the idea that no one person is undeserving of love or redemption. (Assuming that’s still what the show is about.)
What do you want from life?
Still trying to figure that out, but more than anything for my son to know he is loved, wanted and safe.
Why do you write?
I’ve been out of the game for a while, but for the ideas in my head that won’t go away and for people who seem to enjoy reading it.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Advice is easy to give, hard to actually follow. But I’ve never heard anything better than “Do the work,” from an episode of Mad Men. There’s a million reasons to not do it. There’s even more reasons that whatever you put down will suck. Just do it, get it on (digital) paper. You can always tinker later.
Oh, also don’t be afraid of using the word “said” over and over. You’re thinking, crap, this is repetitive and boring. Your audience is paying attention to the dialogue. Too many “exclaimed” and “sighed” and “screamed” and your audience is going to get distracted from what the characters are saying. Again, I am guilty of this.
What inspired “Royals”?
My love for Rarity is undying and she does not need a white knight. However, I always felt Filthy Rich got a bad rap, and I wondered how he would struggle with being a single dad. (We never saw Tiara’s mom. Maybe we have multiple seasons later and I’ve missed it, but at the time, nope.) I thought they were a natural fit given my headcanon of Rarity being burned many times and Filthy Rich not giving any thought to romance during DT’s upbringing and running a business. An adult romance, both partners fully aware of the pitfalls and the possibilities.
Also, the Postmodern Jukebox/Puddles Pity Party cover of Royals was playing 24/7 on my phone, and the idea of Rarity always reaching for that crown haunts me.
Why write the flashbacks only in dialogue?
Easy to signal to the audience that we’re jumping in time, and quite frankly, less work on my end for descriptors. I wanted to have the puzzle pieces all fall into place without it being too confusing.
Was it difficult incorporating the lines from the song into the story?
Not when it was playing on my phone ALL THE TIME. I actually had to take some out to avoid being too cute.
What’s kept you away from FimFiction for the two-and-a-half years it’s been since you last logged in?
See above story with child. Plus, I had too many stories going at the same time and too many ideas and eventually I short circuited and said ‘I’ll come back later’. Later, it turns out, can be a very long time.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Part of what made me want to log back in was curiosity if any of these stories were still kicking around, and then I’d say “log back in if you want to write, don’t go and see if people are still leaving comments, dude.” This was a nice way to see that people are still checking it out without having to, er, write new stuff. But who knows! Maybe I’ll be back.
Oh, also, this story shares the same universe as a story called Colts by Guy Incognito, a Diamond Tiara/Sweetie Belle romance written by Cola Bubble Gum, and my own story Despicable Blue. I eventually wanted the waitress who helps out Rarity to fall for the “reformed” Blueblood, and it would be a whole thing. Just another unwritten story waiting in my head.